11. Mary Will Confide Her Vow to the Spouse God Will Give Her.
3rd September 1944.
What a terrible night! It seemed that the demons were raiding the world. Cannon shots, thunder and lightning, dangers, fears, the suffering because I was lying on a bed which was not mine. And in the middle of all this, there was Mary, like a sweet white flower amongst fire and troubles. She looked a little older than in yesterday's vision, but still a young girl with Her plaits of fair hair over Her shoulders. Her dress was white and Her smile mild and coy: an intimate smile at the glorious mystery enclosed in Her heart. I spent the night comparing Her mild appearance with the ferocity of the world and meditating on Her words of yesterday morning, a song of living charity, as compared to the ferocious hatred of men...
This morning, in the quiet of my room, I saw the following scene.
Mary is still in the Temple. She is now coming out with other virgins from the inner part of the Temple.
There must have been a ceremony because there is the scent of incense in the air of a red sunset. It must be late October, because the sky, already serenely restful as is usual in clear October days, is bending over the gardens of Jerusalem, where the yellow ochre leaves about to fall add gold red spots to the silvery green of the olive‑trees.
The crowd, nay the host of white dressed virgins, crosses the rear yard, then climbs the steps, goes through a porch and enters another square yard, not quite so splendid, without any other door except the one leading into it. It must be the yard allocated to the small dwellings of the virgins assigned to the Temple, because each girl moves towards her cell, like a little dove to its nest. They look like a flock of doves that separate after gathering together. They are all speaking in low but joyful voices, before separating. Mary is silent. Before leaving the other girls, She bids them goodbye affectionately and then goes to Her little room in a comer on the right hand side.
One of the teachers, an elderly lady, but not so old as Anna of Phanuel, joins Her. « Mary, the High Priest wants to see You.»
Mary looks at her somewhat surprised, but does not ask any question. She only replies: « I will go at once.»
I do not know whether the large hall, which She enters, is the house of the High Priest or whether it is part of the dwellings of the women assigned to the Temple. I know it is wide and bright, tastefully arranged. In addition to the High Priest, a stately man in his robes, there are also Zacharias and Anna of Phanuel.
Mary bows down on the threshold and does not enter until the High Priest says to Her: « Come in, Mary. Do not be afraid. » Mary looks up again and slowly moves forward, not because She is unwilling, but because of a somewhat unintentional gravity, which makes Her look more of a woman.
Anna smiles at Her to encourage Her and Zacharias greets Her: « Peace to you, cousin.»
The High Priest observes Her very carefully and then he remarks to Zacharias: « She is obviously of the stock of David and Aaron...»
« My child, I am aware of Your grace and goodness, I know that every day You are growing in grace and knowledge before God and men. I know that the voice of God whispers His sweetest words to Your heart. I know that You are the Flower of God's Temple and that a third Cherub is before the Testimony since You were here. And I would like Your perfume to continue to rise with the incense every day. But the Law says differently. You are no longer a girl, but a woman. And every woman must be a wife in Israel to bear a son to the Lord. You shall follow the commandment of the Law. Do not be afraid, do not blush. I am aware of Your royalty. The Law that prescribes that each man is to be given a woman of his own stock will protect You. But even if that were not the case, I would do so, so that Your magnificent blood might not be corrupted. Don't You know anyone of Your stock, Mary, who might be Your husband? »
Mary lifts Her face full of blushes. Her eyes are shining with tears which begin to appear and with a trembling voice She replies: « No, nobody.»
« It is not possible for Her to know anyone, because She came here in Her childhood and David's race has been struck too severely and scattered too widely to allow the various branches to gather like foliage around the royal palm » says Zacharias.
« We shall then leave the choice to God.»
The tears that Mary had restrained so far, gush out and fall on Her trembling mouth. She looks imploringly at Her teacher.
« Mary has consecrated Herself to the Lord for His glory and for the salvation of Israel. She was but a little child just learning to read and write and She had already made Her vow...» says Anne, helping Her.
« Is that why You are crying then? Not because You wish to resist the Law? »
« Just for that... nothing else. I shall obey you, Priest of God.»
« This confirms what I have always been told of You. How long have You been consecrated to the Lord? »
« I have always been, I think. I was not yet in this Temple, and I had already given Myself to the Lord.»
« But are You not the little one who came twelve years ago and asked me to be allowed to enter? »
« Well, then, how can You say that You already belonged to God then? »
« If I look back, I find I was consecrated... I do not remember when I was born, neither do I remember how I began to love My mother and to say to My father: "Father, I am your daughter"... But I remember that I gave My heart to God, although I do not know when it started. Perhaps it was with the first kiss that I was able to give, with the first word that I learned to say, with the first step that I took... Yes, I think I find My first recollection of love with My first steady step... My house... near the house there was a garden full of flowers... and there was an orchard and some fields... and there was a spring of water at the rear, under the hill, and the water gushed out from a hollow rock that formed a grotto... it was full of long and thin herbs that hung down forming small green waterfalls everywhere and they seemed to be weeping because the thin little leaves, that seemed an embroidery work, had tiny little drops of water on them and when the drops fell they tinkled like little bells. Also the spring seemed to be singing. And there were birds on the olive and apple‑trees above the spring and white doves used to come and wash in the clear water of the fountain... I was no longer thinking of all that, because I had put all My heart in God and, with the exception of My father and mother, whom I loved in life and in death, every other worldly thing had disappeared from My heart... But you have made Me think of it... I must find when I gave Myself to God... and the things of My first years come back to My mind... I loved that grotto, because I heard a voice sweeter than the song of the water and the warbling of the birds say to Me: "Come, My Beloved". I loved those herbs covered with tinkling and sparkling diamond drops, because I could see in them the sign of My Lord and I used to say to Myself: "O soul of Mine, see how great Your God is, He Who made the cedars of Lebanon for the eagles, has also made these little leaves that bend down under the weight of a little mosquito and He made them for the joy of Your eyes and as a protection for Your little feet". I loved that silence of pure things: the light breeze, the silvery water, the purity of the doves... I loved the peace that hovered over the little grotto, and descended from the apple and olive‑trees, now full of blossoms, then laden with beautiful fruit... And I do not know... the voice seemed to be saying to Me, yes, just to Me: "Come, specious olive; come, sweet apple; come, sealed spring; come, My dove"... Sweet is the love of a father, sweet the love of a mother... sweet their voices calling Me... but this, this one! Oh! in the earthly Paradise I think that she, who became guilty, heard it thus, and I do not understand how she could prefer a hiss to this voice of love, how she could desire any other knowledge that was not God... With My
lips which still tasted of My mother's milk, but with My heart full of celestial honey, I then said: "Here I am. I am coming. I am Yours. No one will have My body, but You, My Lord, neither will My soul have any other love..." And while saying so, it seemed to Me that I was saying over again things already said and that I was fulfilling a rite already fulfilled, and the chosen Spouse was not a stranger to Me, because I already knew His ardour and My sight had been formed at His light and My capacity for loving had been fulfilled in His embrace... When? I do not know. Beyond life, I would say, because I feel I always had Him, and that He always had Me, and that I exist because He wanted Me for the joy of His Spirit and Mine... Now I obey you, o Priest. But please tell Me how I am to behave... I have neither father nor mother. Please be My guide.»
« God will give You Your husband and he will be a holy man, because You have entrusted Yourself to God. You will tell him Your vow. »
« And will he agree? »
« I hope so. Pray, my child, that he may understand Your heart. Go now. May God always accompany You.»
Mary withdraws with Anna. Zacharias stays with the High Priest.
The vision ends thus.
12. Joseph Is Appointed Husband of the Virgin.
4th September 1944.
I see a rich hall with a beautiful floor, curtains, carpets and inlaid furniture. It must be still part of the Temple: there are priests in it, including Zacharias, and many men of every age, from twenty to fifty approximately.
They are all talking in low but animated voices. They seem to be anxious about something I do not know. They are dressed in their best clothes, which seem to be new or just recently washed and they are obviously dressed for some special feast. Many have removed the piece of cloth covering their heads, others still wear it, particularly the elder ones, whereas the young people show their bare heads, some dark blond, some brown, some black, only one auburn. Their hair is mostly short, but some wear it long down to their shoulders. They do not all know one another, because they observe one another inquisitively. But they seem to be akin somehow, because it is clear that they are all concerned with the same matter.
In a comer I can see Joseph. He is talking to a hale and hearty elderly man. Joseph is about thirty years old. He is a handsome man with short and rather curly hair, dark brown like his beard and his moustache, which cover a well shaped chin and rise towards his rosy‑brown cheeks, which are not olive‑coloured as is normal in most people with a brown complexion. His eyes are dark, kindly and deep, very serious and perhaps somewhat sad. But when he smiles, as he does now, they become gay and young looking. He is dressed in light brown, very simple but very tidy.
A group of young Levites comes in and they take up position between the door and a long narrow table, which is against the same wall as the door, which is left wide open. A single curtain hanging down to about twenty centimetres from the floor is drawn to cover the empty space.
The curiosity of the group increases. It grows more so when a hand pulls the curtain to one side to admit a Levite, who is carrying in his arms a bundle of dry branches on which one in blossom is gently laid: it looks like a light foam of white petals, with a vague pinkish hue that spreads softer and softer from the centre to the top of the light petals. The Levite lays the bundle of branches on the table very gently to avoid detracting from the miracle of the branch full of flowers among so many dry ones.
Whispering spreads in the hall. They all stretch their necks and sharpen their eyes to see. Zacharias, who is near the table with the other priests, also endeavours to see. But he can see nothing.
Joseph, in his comer, gives a quick glance to the bundle of branches and when the man he was speaking to says something to him, he shakes his head in denial as if to say: « Impossible » and smiles.
A trumpet is heard beyond the curtain. They all become quiet and turn in an orderly way towards the door, which is now completely clear as the curtain has been pulled to one side. The High Priest enters surrounded by elders. They all make a deep bow. The Pontiff goes to the table and begins to speak, standing up.
« Men of the race of David, gathered here at my request, please listen. The Lord has spoken, glory be to Him! From His Glory a ray has descended and, like the sun in springtime, it has given life to a dry branch which has blossomed miraculously, whereas no other branch on earth is in bloom to‑day, the last day of the Feast of Dedication, and the snow that fell on the mountains in Judah has not yet melted and everything is white between Zion and Bethany. God has spoken and has made Himself the father and the guardian of the Virgin of David Who has Him alone as Her protection. A holy girl, the glory of the Temple, She deserved the word of God to learn the name of a husband agreeable to the Eternal One. And he must be very just to be chosen by the Lord as the protector of the Virgin so dear to Him! For this reason our sorrow in losing Her is alleviated and all worries about Her destiny as a wife cease. And to the man appointed by God we entrust with full confidence the Virgin blessed by God and by ourselves. The name of the husband is Joseph of Jacob of Bethlehem, of the tribe of David, a carpenter in Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph: come forward. It is an order of the High Priest ... »
There is a lot of whispering. Heads move round, eyes cast inquisitive glances, hands make signs: there are expressions of disappointment and relief. Someone, particularly amongst the older people, must be happy that it was not his fate.
Joseph, blushing and embarrassed moves forward. He is now near the table, in front of the Pontiff, whom he has greeted reverently.
« Everyone must come here to see the name engraved on the branch. And everyone must take his own branch to make sure that there is no deception.»
The men obey. They look at the branch gently held by the High Priest and then each takes his own: some break it, some keep it. They all look at Joseph. Some look and are silent, others look and congratulate him. The elderly man to whom Joseph was speaking before, exclaims: « I told you, Joseph! Who feels less certain, is the one who wins the game! » They have all now passed before the Pontiff.
The High Priest gives Joseph his branch in bloom, he lays his hand on his shoulder and says to him: « The spouse the Lord has presented you with, is not rich, as you know. But all virtues are in Her. Be more and more worthy of Her. There is no flower in Israel as beautiful and pure as She is. Please, all go out now. You, Joseph, stay here. And you, Zacharias, since you are Her relative, please bring in the bride.»
They all go out, except the High Priest and Joseph. The curtain is drawn once again over the door.
Joseph is standing in a very humble attitude, near the Priest. There is silence, then the Priest says to Joseph: « Mary wishes to inform you of a vow She made. Please help Her shyness. Be good to Her, Who is so good.»
« I will put my strength and my manly authority at Her service and no sacrifice on Her behalf will be heavy for me. Be sure of that. »
Mary enters with Zacharias and Anna of Phanuel.
« Come, Mary » says the Pontiff. « Here is the spouse that God has destined to You. He is Joseph of Nazareth. You will therefore go back to Your own town. I will leave You now. May God give You His blessing. May the Lord protect You and bless You, may He show His face to You and have mercy on You. May He turn His face to You and give You peace. »
Zacharias goes out escorting the Pontiff. Anna congratulates Joseph and then she goes out, too.
The betrothed are now facing each other. Mary, full of blushes, is standing with Her head bowed. Joseph, who is also red in the face, looks at Her and tries to find the first words to be said. He eventually finds them and a bright smile lights up his eyes. He says: « I welcome you, Mary. I saw You when You were a little baby, only a few days old... I was a friend of Your father's and I have a nephew, the son of my brother Alphaeus, who was a great friend of Your mother. He was her little friend, because he is only eighteen years old, and when You were not yet born, he was only a little boy and he cheered up Your sad mother who loved him so much. You do not know us because You were only a little girl when You came here. But everyone in Nazareth loves You and they all think and speak of Joachim's little Mary, Whose birth was a miracle of the Lord, Who made the barren old lady blossom wonderfully... And I remember the evening You were born... We all remember it because of the prodigy of a heavy rain that saved the country and of a violent storm during which the thunderbolts did not damage even a stem of heather and it ended with such a large and beautiful rainbow that the like has never been seen again. And then... who does not remember Joachim's happiness? He dandled You showing You to his neighbours... As if You were a flower that had descended from Heaven, he admired You and wanted everyone to admire You, a happy old father who died talking about his Mary, Who was so beautiful and good and Whose words were so full of wisdom end grace... He was quite right in admiring You and in saying that there is no other woman lovelier than You are! And Your mother? She filled Your house and the neighbourhood with her songs and she sang like a skylark in springtime when she was carrying You, and afterwards when she held You in her arms. I made a cradle for You. A tiny little cradle, with roses carved all over it, because Your mother wanted it like that. Perhaps it is still in the house... I am old, Mary. When You were born I was beginning to work. I was already working... I would never have believed that I was going to have You as a spouse! Perhaps Your parents would have died a happier death if they had known, because they were my friends. I buried Your father, mourning over his death with a sincere heart, because he was a good teacher to me.»
Mary raises Her face, little by little, taking heart, as She hears Joseph speak to Her thus, and when he mentions the cradle She smiles gently and when Joseph speaks of Her father, She holds out Her hand to him and says: « Thank you, Joseph. » A very timid and gentle « thank you.»
Joseph holds Her little jasmine hand in his short and strong hands of a carpenter and he caresses it with an affection that expresses more and more confidence. Perhaps he is waiting for more words. But Mary is silent once again. He then goes on: « As You know, Your house is still intact, with the exception of the part that was demolished by order of the consul, to build a road for the waggons of the Romans. But the fields, what is left of them ‑You know that because of Your father's illness much of the property had to be disposed of‑ have been rather neglected. For over three years the trees and the vines have never been pruned and the land is untilled and hard. But the trees that saw You when You were a little girl are still there, and if You agree, I will at once take care of them.»
« Thank you, Joseph. But you have your work ... »
« I will work in Your orchard in the morning and in the evening. The days are getting longer and longer. By springtime I want everything to be in order for Your happiness. Look: this is a branch of the almond tree near the house. I wanted to pick it ‑the hedge is so ruined that one can enter anywhere, but I will remake it solid and strong‑ I wanted to pick it, because I thought that if I should be the chosen one, You would have been pleased to have a flower from Your garden. But I was not expecting to be the chosen one as I am a Nazirite (1) and I have obeyed because it is an order of the Priest, not because I wish to get married. Here is the branch, Mary. With it I offer You my heart, that, like it, has bloomed up till now only for the Lord and is now blooming for You, my spouse.»
Mary takes the branch. She is moved and looks at Joseph with a face that has become more and more confident and bright. She feels certain of him. When he says to Her « I am a Nazirite », Her face becomes bright and She takes courage: « Also I am all of the Lord, Joseph. I do not know whether the High Priest told you ... »
« He only told me that You are good and pure, that You wish to inform me of a vow, and that I must be good to you. Speak, Mary. Your Joseph wants You to be happy in all Your desires. I do not love You my with body. I love You with my soul, holy girl given to me by God! Please see in me a father and a brother, in addition to a husband. And open Your heart to me as to a father and rely on me as on a brother ... »
« Since My childhood I have consecrated Myself to the Lord. I know this is not the custom in Israel. But I heard a voice requesting My virginity as a sacrifice of love for the coming of the Messiah. Israel has been waiting for Him for such a long time!... It is not too much to forgo the joy of being a mother for that! »
Joseph gazes at Her as if he wanted to read Her heart, then he takes Her tiny hands which are still holding the branch in blossom and he says: « I will join my sacrifice to Yours and we shall love the Eternal Father so much with our chastity that He will send His Saviour to the world earlier, and will allow us to see His Light shining in the world. Come, Mary. Let us go before His House and
Nazareth to prepare everything for You, in Your house, if You wish to go there, or elsewhere if You wish so.»
« In My house... There was a grotto down at the bottom... Is it still there? »
« It is, but it is no longer Yours... But I will build another one for You where it will be cool and quiet during the hottest hours of the day. I will make it as much as possible identical to the older one. And tell me: whom do You want with You? »
« Nobody. I am not afraid. Alphaeus' mother, who has always come to see Me, will keep Me company during the day. At night I prefer to be alone. No harm can befall Me.»
(1) Hebrew who had taken special vows of abstinence, see Numbers, 6.
« And now I am there, too. When shall I come and get You? »
« Whenever you wish, Joseph.»
« Then I will come as soon as the house is ready. I will not touch anything. I want You to find it as Your mother left it. But I want it to be bright and clean, to receive You without any sadness. Come, Mary. Let us go and tell the Most High that we bless Him.»
I do not see anything else. But I feel in my heart the sense of confidence that Mary feels.
13. Wedding of the Virgin and Joseph.
5th September 1944.
How beautiful Mary is dressed as a bride, among Her joyful friends and teachers! There is also Elizabeth amongst them.
She is dressed in snow‑white linen, so soft and refined that it looks like precious silk. She is wearing round Her slender waist a burin wrought belt in gold and silver, made of medallions held together by little chains ‑ each medallion is an embroidery of gold threads on heavy silver burnished by age. Probably because the belt is too long for Her, still a gentle girl, the last three medallions hang down in the front and fall amongst the folds of the very wide dress that is so long as to form a sort of train. On Her feet She is wearing white leather sandals with silver buckles.
Around Her neck the dress is held by a chain of small gold roses and silver filigree, reproducing on a smaller scale the design of the belt. Running through large holes on the loosely cut neck, the chain gathers the cloth and forms a kind of small frill. Mary's neck emerges from the white pleated cloth with the grace of a stem wrapped in a precious fabric and seems even more slender and whiter than ever, the stem of a lily ending in a lily‑like face, which is even paler than usual for the excitement ‑ and purer. The face of a most pure victim.
Her hair no longer hangs over Her shoulders. It is arranged in a knot of plaits in a charming style, and precious burnished silver hairpins, all made with embroidered filigree at the top, hold it in position. Her mother's veil is placed over the plaits and it falls in beautiful folds under the precious thin plate that encircles Her snow‑white forehead. The veil falls down Her sides and since Mary is not as tall as Her mother, it falls lower than Her hips, whereas it reached Anne's waist. She has nothing on Her hands, but is wearing bracelets on Her wrists. Her wrists are so thin that the heavy bracelets of Her mother cover the back of Her hands and would fall to the ground if She tossed Her hands.
Her friends gaze upon Her and admire Her. They twitter gaily like sparrows asking questions and expressing their admiration.
« Are they Your mother's? »
« They are antique, are they not? »
« How beautiful, Sarah, this belt is! »
« And what about this veil, Susan? How refined it is. Just look at those lilies woven in it! »
« Let me see Your bracelets, Mary. Were they Your mother's? »
« Yes, she wore them. But they are of My father's mother.»
« Oh! Look. They have the seal of Solomon interwoven with thin little branches of palm and olive‑trees and amongst these there are lilies and roses. Oh! Who did such perfect and refined work? »
« They belong to the House of David » explains Mary. « The women of the family have worn them for centuries, when they get married and they are left in heritage to the heiress.»
« Certainly! You are the heiress... »
« Did they bring You everything from Nazareth? »
« No, they did not. When My mother died, My cousin took My trousseau to her house to keep it safely. Now she has brought it back to Me.»
« Where is it? Where is it? Show it to Your friends. »
Mary does not know what to do... She would like to be kind, but she is not anxious to pull out all the things which are nicely laid in three heavy trunks.
Her teachers come to Her help: « The groom is about to arrive » they point out. « This is not the moment to cause confusion. Leave Mary alone. You are tiring Her. Go and get ready.»
The chattering group go away somewhat sulkily. Mary can now enjoy in peace the company of Her teachers who say words of praise and blessing to Her.
Also Elizabeth has come near. And as Mary, deeply moved, is crying because Anna of Phanuel has called Her « daughter » and has kissed Her with true motherly love, Elizabeth says to Her: « Mary, Your mother is not here, and yet she is present. Her soul is rejoicing with Yours. Look, the things that You are wearing are giving You her caresses once again. You can still find in them the flavour of her kisses. One day, a long time ago, the day You came to the Temple, she said to me: "I have prepared Her dresses and Her trousseau, because I wish to be the one who weaves Her linens and makes Her bridal dresses, so that I shall not be absent on the day of Her joy". And listen. In the last days, when I was assisting her, every evening she wanted to caress Your first little dresses and the ones You are now wearing and she would say: "I can smell the jasmine perfume of my little one and I want Her to perceive here the kiss of Her mummy". How many kisses on this veil that is now shading Your forehead! There are more kisses than threads!... And when You will wear the cloth woven by her, just think that it was woven more by her motherly love than by the shuttle. And these jewels... Also in hard circumstances they were saved by Your father for You, that You might be beautiful in this hour, as befits a princess of the House of David. Be happy and cheerful, Mary. You are not an orphan, because Your parents are with You and Your husband is a father and a mother to You, such is his perfection... »
« Yes, that is true! I certainly cannot complain. In two months he has been here twice, and today he has come for the third time, facing the rain and the windy weather, to take orders from Me... Fancy: orders from Me who am a poor woman and much younger than he is! And he has denied Me nothing. He does not even wait for Me to ask. I think an angel must tell him what I want, because he tells Me before I can speak. The last time he said: "Mary, I think that You prefer to stay in Your father's house. Since You are a daughter heiress, You can do so, if that is Your wish. I will come to Your house. However, in order to accomplish the rite, You will go for one week to my brother Alphaeus' house. Mary already loves You so much. And from there the procession will start that will take You to Your house in the evening of the wedding day". Was that not very kind of him? It did not even matter to him if the people should say that he has not a house which I would like... I would have liked it, because he is there and he is so good. Certainly... I prefer My own house... because of memories... Oh! Joseph is so good! »
« What did he say about Your vow? You haven't told me yet.»
« He made no objection. On the contrary, when I told him the reasons, he said: "I will join my sacrifice to Yours".»
« He is a holy young man » says Anna of Phanuel.
The «holy young man » is coming in just now in the company of Zacharias.
He is really magnificent. All dressed in gold yellow he seems an eastern sovereign. A splendid belt supports his bag and his dagger, the former of morocco embroidered in gold, the latter with a morocco sheath and gold decorations. On his head he is wearing a turban, that is the usual piece of cloth worn like a hood, as is still customary amongst certain people in Africa, such as the bedouins, and it is held by a precious ring, a thin wire of gold, to which there are tied some small bunches of myrtle. He has on a new mantle, with fringes, and he wears it with great dignity. He is sparkling with joy. He has in his hands small bunches of myrtle in bloom.
« Peace to you, my spouse! » he greets Her. « Peace to everyone.» When he has received a reply to his greetings, he says: « I saw Your joy the day I gave You a branch from Your garden. I thought I should bring You some myrtle which I picked near the grotto You love so much. I wanted to bring You some of the roses that are already beginning to bloom near Your house. But roses do not last long. After a journey of several days I would have arrived here with only the thorns. And I want to offer You, my dear, only roses and spread Your way with soft scented flowers, so that Your feet may rest on them without touching anything dirty or harsh.»
« Oh! Thank you, you are so good! But what did you do to keep it so fresh?»
« I tied a vase to the saddle and I put in it the branches of the flowers in bud. During the journey they have burst into flower. Here they are, Mary. May Your forehead be garlanded with purity, the symbol of a bride, which, however, is much inferior to the purity of Your heart.»
Elizabeth and the teachers adorn Mary with a little garland of flowers which they form attaching to the precious ring the little white bunches of myrtle and they insert small white roses which they take from a vase placed on a small chest.
Mary is on the point of taking Her large white mantle to put it on Her shoulders, but Joseph precedes Her and helps Her to fasten it at the top of Her shoulders with two silver buckles. The teachers then arrange the folds with loving care.
Everything is ready. While they are awaiting I do not know what, Joseph takes Mary to one side and says to Her: « I have pondered a lot on Your vow these last days. I told You that I will share it with You. But the more I think of it, the more I realise that a temporary Naziritism is not sufficient, even if renewed several times. I have understood You, Mary. I do not yet deserve the word of Light, but a murmur of it comes to me. And it causes me to read Your secret, at least in its main lines. I am a poor ignorant man, Mary. A poor workman. I know nothing of letters and I have no treasures. But I place at Your feet my treasure: my absolute chastity, for ever, to be worthy of being beside You, Virgin of God, "my sister spouse, enclosed garden, sealed fountain", as our Ancestor says, who perhaps wrote the Song of Songs seeing You... I shall be the guardian of this garden of spices in which are the most precious fruits and from which a spring of living water gushes out in a gentle surge: Your kindness, o spouse, has conquered my soul with Your innocence, o most beautiful one. You are more beautiful than dawn, You are a sun that shines because Your heart shines, You are full of love for Your God and for the world, to which You wish to give a Saviour with Your sacrifice of a woman. Come, my beloved spouse » and he takes Her gently by the hand and leads Her towards the door. All the others follow them and outside the joyful companions, all dressed in white and wearing veils, join them.
They go through yards and porches, among the crowds that watch them, up to a point that is not the Temple, but seems to be a hall used for ceremonies, because there are lamps and rolls of parchment as in synagogues. They go as far as a tall lectern, almost a desk, and they wait. The others stand orderly behind them. Other priests and curious people gather at the end.
The High Priest enters solemnly.
There is whispering amongst the curious crowd: « Is he going to marry them? »
« Yes, because She is of royal and sacerdotal rank. A flower of David and Aaron, the bride is a virgin of the Temple. The groom is of the tribe of David.»
The Pontiff joins the right hand of the bride with the right hand of the groom and he blesses them solemnly: « May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob be with you. May He join you and fulfil His blessing in you giving you His peace and numerous descendants with a long life and a happy death in the bosom of Abraham.» He then withdraws as solemn as when he entered.
The promise has been exchanged. Mary is Joseph's spouse. (1)
They all go out and they orderly move to a hall where they stipulate the wedding contract in which it is stated that Mary, the daughter heiress of Joachim of David and of Anne of Aaron gives Joseph, as Her dowry, Her house and the estate attached to it, Her personal property and what She has inherited from Her father.
It is now all over.
The betrothed go out into the yard and they move toward the exit near the dwellings of the women assigned to the Temple. A comfortable heavy waggon is waiting for them. A tent is laid over it as a shelter and Mary's heavy trunks are already loaded on it.
After farewell words, kisses and tears, blessings and advice, Mary gets into the waggon with Elizabeth, while Joseph and Zacharias sit in the front. They have taken off their best mantles and are all wearing dark ones.
The waggon departs at the heavy trot of a big dark horse. The Temple walls and then the city walls are receding and here is the country, new, fresh, blooming in the early springtime sunshine, with the corn a few inches off the ground, its little leaves, which look like emeralds, waving at a gentle breeze, which carries the scent of peach and apple flowers, of clover flowers and of wild mint.
Mary is weeping silently, under Her veil, and now and again She removes the tent and looks at the far away Temple and the city She has left...
The vision ends thus.
(1) In Israel, also at the time of Our Lady, a marriage comprised two phases: the engagement and the wedding. The rite of the engagement, by which the marriage was essentially established, implied that the young couple should be blessed by a priest while holding each other's right hand; a legal contract was made in regard to property and rights. During this first phase they did not live together. The wedding was the solemn accomplishment of the contract and the couple began to live together.
« What does the Book of Wisdom say, singing her praises? "Within wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle". And it goes on listing her endowments, ending the period with the words... "almighty, all‑surveying, penetrating all intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits. She is so pure she pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God, hence nothing impure can find a way into her... image of His goodness. Although alone she can do all, herself unchanging, she makes all things new, she passes into holy souls, she makes them friends of God and Prophets".
You have seen how Joseph, not by human culture, but by supernatural education can read in the sealed book of the Immaculate Virgin and how he borders upon prophetic truths by his "seeing" a superhuman mystery where others could only see a great virtue. Since he is imbued with this wisdom, which is a breath of the power of God and a definite emanation of the Almighty, he sails with a secure spirit the sea of this mystery of grace which is Mary. He penetrates with Her spiritual contacts, in which, rather than the lips, the two spirits speak to each other in the sacred silence of their souls, where God only can hear voices and those who are well liked by God, because they are His faithful servants and are full of Him.
The wisdom of the Just man, which increases by his union and closeness to Mary, Full of Grace, prepares him to penetrate the deepest secrets of God and enables him to protect and defend them from the snares of man and demon. And in the meantime it invigorates him. It makes the just man a saint, and the saint the guardian of the Spouse and of the Son of God.
Without removing the seal of God, he, a chaste man, now elevating his chastity to angelical heroism, can read the word of fire written by God on the virginal diamond, and he reads what his wisdom does not repeat, but is greater than what Moses read on the stone tablets. And to prevent profane eyes from prying into the mystery, he places himself, seal upon the seal, as an archangel of fire on the threshold of Paradise, within which the Eternal Father takes His delight, "walking in the cool of the evening" and talking to Her Who is His love, Garden of lilies in bloom, Air scented with perfumes, fresh morning Breeze, lovely Star, Delight of God. The new Eve is there, in front of him, not bone from his bones, nor flesh from his flesh, but companion of his life, living Ark of God, Whom he receives in guardianship and Whom he must return to God as pure as he received Her.
"Spouse to God" was written in the immaculate pages of that mystical book... And when in the hour of trial suspicion hissed its torture, he suffered as a man and as a servant of God, as no man suffered, because of the suspected sacrilege. But this was to be the future trial. Now, in this time of grace, he sees and he puts himself at the most true service of God. Then the storm of the trial will come, as for all saints, to be tested and made coadjutors of God.
What do you read in Leviticus? "Tell Aaron, your brother, that he must not enter the sanctuary beyond the Veil in front of the Throne of mercy that is over the Ark, whenever he chooses. He may die; for I appear in a cloud on the Throne of mercy, unless he has done these things first: he will offer a young bull for a sacrifice for sin and a ram for holocaust, he is to wear a linen tunic and cover his nakedness with a linen girdle".
And Joseph really enters the sanctuary of God, when and as far as God wants, beyond the veil that conceals the Ark on which the Spirit of God hovers and he offers himself and will offer the Lamb, a holocaust for the sin of the world and in expiation of such sin. And he does that dressed in linen, and mortifying his virile limbs to abolish their faculty of sensation, which once, at the beginning of times, did triumph, impairing the rights of God on man and which will now be crushed in the Son, in the Mother and in the putative father, to lead men back to Grace and restore the right of God on man. He does that with his perpetual chastity.
Was Joseph not on Golgotha? Do you think he is not amongst the co‑redeemers? I tell you solemnly that he was the first and therefore he is great in the eyes of God. Great for his sacrifice, his patience, his perseverance, his faith. Which faith is greater than this one that believed without seeing the miracles of the Messiah?
Praise be to My putative father, an example to you of what you lack most: purity, faithfulness and perfect love. Praise be to the magnificent reader of the sealed Book, imbued with Wisdom to be able to understand the mysteries of Grace and chosen to protect the Salvation of the world from the snares of all enemies.»
14. Joseph and Mary arrive in Nazareth.
6th September 1944.
A very blue sky of a mild February is over the hills of Galilee. The gentle hills that I have never seen in the early history of Mary, are now instead as familiar to me as if I were born there.
The main road is fresh looking because of last night's rain and it is neither dusty nor muddy. It is hard and clean as if were the street of a town and it runs between two hedges of hawthorn in bloom. The hedges are so white that they look like a snowfall. The scenary is broken by the monstrous conglomerations of cacti, with thick leaves like palettes, spiked with stings and decorated with the huge granades of their peculiar fruits, grown without stem on the top of the leaves. Because of their colour and shape, the cactus leaves always give me the impression of sea depths and coral reefs, of jellyfish and other deep sea animals.
Beyond the hedgerows, there is the country. The purpose of the hedges is to fence in the grounds of the various owners, and thus they stretch in every direction forming a strange geometrical design of curves and angles, lozenges, squares, semicircles and the most unbelievable acute and obtuse angled triangles, a design all sprayed with white, like a strange ribbon thrown over the country just for fun and over which hundreds and hundreds of birds fly, chirp, sing, in the joy of love, while working to build their nests. In the fields the corn is taller than in Judaea. The meadows are full of flowers and there are hundreds of fruit‑trees all in full bloom, that look like clouds of vegetables white, red, pink, with all gradations of these colours: they seem to be an answer to the light clouds in the sky which the setting sun paints pink, light lilac, periwinkle violet, opal blue and coral orange.
With the light evening breeze the first petals fall from the trees in blossom and they seem a swarm of little butterflies searching for pollen on wild flowers. And from tree to tree there are festoons of vines still barren, except at the top of the festoons, where there is more sunshine, and the first little innocent, surprised, trembling leaves are beginning to open.
The sun is setting peacefully in the sky, which is so benign in its deep blue. The light makes it even more limpid and causes the snow on Mount Hermon and other far away mountain tops to shine.
A waggon is moving along the road. It is the waggon that is carrying Joseph, Mary and Her cousins. Their journey is at an end.
Mary is looking with the eagerness of those who want to know, nay want to recognise what they have already seen, but can no longer remember and they smile when a faint memory comes back to them and rests, like a light, on this or that thing, on this or that point. Elizabeth, Zacharias and Joseph help Her to remember, pointing to various places and houses.
Nazareth is already showing its houses, spread out on the undulations of its hills. Lit up from the left by the setting sun, it shows the white of its low wide little houses bordered in pink and surmounted by terraces. Some of them, fully illuminated by the sun, seem to be near a fire, so red are the fronts of the houses because of the sun, that also lights up the water of the ponds and of the low wells, with practically no parapets, and from which squeaky pails of water are being pulled up for the houses as well as water‑bags for the orchards.
Children and women rush to the side of the road and look into the waggon and greet Joseph who is well known to them. But they are somewhat embarrassed and shy with regard to the other three travellers.
But when the waggon enters the little town, there is no longer any embarrassment or shyness. Many people of all ages are gathered at the entrance of the village under a rustic arch of flowers and branches, and there is an outburst of shrill voices and a tossing of branches and flowers as soon as the waggon appears from behind the corner of the last house lying before it in the country. It is the women, girls and children of Nazareth greeting the bride. The men, more grave, are standing behind the excited and shouting crowd and they are greeting solemnly.
The waggon is not covered now by the tent, which was removed before reaching the village, both because the sun was no longer annoying them and to enable Mary to see Her native land. Mary thus appears in all the beauty of a lovely flower. White and blonde like an angel, She smiles lovingly at everybody: at the children who throw Her flowers and kisses; at the girls of Her own age who call Her by name; at the elderly women who bless Her with their cheerful voices. She bows to the men and particularly to one who is perhaps the rabbi or the elder of the town.
The waggon proceeds slowly along the main road, followed for a considerable distance by the crowd, for whom the arrival is an event.
« There is Your house, Mary » says Joseph, pointing with his whip to a little house which is just under the edge of an undulation of the hill. Behind the house there is a lovely large kitchen garden all in bloom, at the end of which there is a small olive‑grove. Behind the olive‑grove there is the usual boundary hedge of hawthorn and cactus. The fields that once belonged to Joachim, are farther beyond...
« As You can see, very little is left for You » says Zacharias. « Your father's illness was a long and expensive one. Also the expenses to repair the damage done by the Romans were heavy. See? The road took away the three main rooms and the house was cut down in size. In order to enlarge it, without excessive expenses, a part of the mountain was adapted, where the grotto is. Joachim kept his supplies there and Anne her looms. You will do as You think best.»
« Oh! It does not matter if only little is left. It will be sufficient for Me. I will work ... »
« No, Mary. » It is Joseph who is speaking. « I will work. You will do nothing but weave and sew things for the house. I am young and strong and I am Your husband. Please do not humiliate me with Your work. »
« I shall do as you wish. »
« Yes, in this case I do want it. In everything else Your wishes are the law. But not in regard to this.»
They have arrived. The waggon stops.
Two women and two men, about forty and fifty years of age respectively, are at the entrance and many children and young boys are with them. « May God give You peace, Mary » says the elder man and one of the women approaches Mary embracing and kissing Her.
« He is my brother Alphaeus and she is Mary, his wife, and these are their children. They have come to greet You and to tell You that their house is Yours if You wish so » says Joseph.
« Yes, come Mary, if it is painful for You to live by Yourself. The country is beautiful in springtime and our house is in the middle of fields full of flowers. And You will be the loveliest flower there » says Mary of Alphaeus.
« Thank you, Mary. I would come so willingly. But I am so anxious to see and recognise My own home. I left it when I was a little girl, and I have forgotten what it is like... Now I have found it again... and I feel 1 have found also My lost mother, My beloved father, and that I can hear the echo of their words... and I smell the perfume of their last breathing. I feel I am no longer an orphan, because once again I have around Me the embrace of these walls... Please understand Me, Mary.» Mary's voice trembles and Her eyes begin to shine with tears.
Mary of Alphaeus replies to Her: « As You wish, my dear. I want You to feel that I am Your sister and friend, and also a mother to You, since I am so much older than You are. »
The other woman has come forward: « Hello, Mary. I am Sarah, Your mother's friend. I saw You being born. And this is Alphaeus, Alphaeus' nephew, and a great friend of Your mother. What I did for Your mother, I am willing to do for You, if You wish so. See? My house is the nearest to Yours and Your fields are now ours. But if You want to come, come whenever You wish. We will open a passage through the hedge and we shall be together, yet each of us will be at home. This is my husband.»
« Thank you all and for everything. Thank you for all the good you did to My parents and for your love for Me. May God the Almighty bless you for it.»
The heavy trunks are unloaded and carried into the house. They go in. I now recognise the little house of Nazareth, as it was during the life of Jesus.
Joseph takes Mary by Her hand and they go in. On the threshold he says to Her: « And now, on this threshold, I want a promise from You. That whatever may happen to You, whatever You may need, there is no other friend whom to apply to but Joseph and that, for no reason whatsoever, may You worry all by Yourself. Remember that I am everything for You and it will be a joy for me to make Your life happy and, since happiness is not always in our power, I will at least make it peaceful and safe.»
« I do promise, Joseph.»
The door and windows are opened. The last searching rays of the sun enter.
Mary has now taken off Her mantle and veil, because, with the exception of the myrtle flowers, She has still Her bridal dress on. She then goes into the kitchen garden in bloom. She looks and smiles. Still held by the hand by Joseph, She goes round the garden. She looks as if She were taking possession of a lost place.
And Joseph shows Her his work: « See? I dug a hole here to gather the rain water, because these vines are always thirsty. I cut off the oldest branches of this olive tree to strengthen it and I transplanted these apple trees because two of them had withered. Over there I planted some fig trees. When they grow up they will shelter the house both from the excessive heat of the sun and from inquisitive people. The pergola is the old one. I only changed the rotten poles and I did some trimming. It will give You a lot of, grapes, I hope. And here, look» and he leads Her proudly towards the side of the hill at the back of the house, which limits the northern side of the garden, « here I dug a grotto and I have reinforced it and when these little plants take roots, it will be almost identical to the one You had. There is no spring... but I hope to convey a little stream there. I will work in the long summer evenings, when I come to see You...»
« What do you mean? » asks Alphaeus. « Are you not getting married this summer? »
« No. Mary wants to weave Her woollen clothes, the only things missing from Her trousseau. And I agree with Her. Mary is so young that it does not matter if we wait for a year or more. In the meantime She will get used to the house...»
« Well! You have always been somewhat different from other people and you still are. I do not know who would not be in a hurry to get married to a beautiful flower like Mary, and you are delaying things by months!...»
«A joy awaited for a long time is a joy to be taken delight in more intensely» replies Joseph with a gentle smile.
His brother shrugs his shoulders and asks: « Well, then, when are you thinking of getting married? »
« When Mary is sixteen. After the feast of the Tabernacles. The winter evenings will be sweet for the newly weds!...» and he smiles again looking at Mary. A smile of a gentle secret understanding. A smile of a brotherly chastity giving comfort. He then resumes his tour of the garden. « This is the big room under the mountain. If You agree, I will use it as a workshop when I come here. It is joined to the house, but not in the house. So I will not annoy You with noises and disorder. However, if You wish otherwise...»
« No, Joseph. That is perfectly all right.»
They go back into the house and light the lamps.
«Mary is tired » says Joseph. « Let us leave Her in peace with Her cousins.»
They all say goodbye and go out. Joseph stays for a few moments and speaks to Zacharias in a low voice.
« Your cousin is leaving Elizabeth with You for a little while. Are You happy? I am. Because she will help You... to become a perfect housewife. With her You will be able to arrange Your things and Your furniture, and I will come every evening to help You. With Elizabeth You can purchase the wool and whatever You may need. And I will see to the expenses. Remember, You have promised to come to me for everything. Goodbye, Mary. Sleep the first night as the landlady of this house and may the angel of God make Your sleep peaceful. May the Lord be always with You.»
« Goodbye, Joseph. May you also be under the wings of God's angel. Thank you, Joseph. For everything. As far as I can, I will requite your love with Mine. »
Joseph says goodbye to Her cousins and goes out.
And the vision ends with him.
15. Conclusion to the Pre‑Gospel.
« The cycle is over. It has been so sweet and gentle and with it your Jesus has taken you out of the turmoil of these days without any shock. Like a baby enveloped in soft woollen swaddling clothes and laid on soft cushions, you have been immersed in those blissful visions so that you might not perceive the cruelty of men who hate instead of loving one another, and be terrorised by such ferocity. You could no longer endure certain situations, and I do not want you to die because of them, because I take care of My "mouthpiece".
The reason why victims have been tortured by utter despair is about to cease in the world. Therefore, Mary, the time of your dreadful suffering for too many reasons in such strong contrast with your feelings, will come to an end as well. But your suffering will not cease: you are a victim. But part of it: the latter, will cease. Then the day will come when I will say to you, as I said to Mary of Magdala when she was dying: "Rest. It is now time for you to rest. Give Me your thorns. It is now time for roses. Rest and wait. I bless you, o blessed soul".
That is what I was saying to you, and it was a promise which you did not understand, as the time was approaching when you were to be immersed in, rolled over, chained and filled with thorns, in deepest darkness... I am repeating that to you now, with the joy which only the Love, Which I am, can feel when It can stop one of Its beloved from suffering. I am now telling you that that time of sacrifice is ceasing. And I, Who know, say to you, on behalf of the world which does not know, on behalf of Italy, of Viareggio, of this little village, where you brought Me ‑ meditate on the meaning of these words ‑ I say to you "thanks" as is due to holocausts for their sacrifices.
When I showed you Cecily, the virgin‑spouse, I told you that she became impregnated with My perfumes, behind which she dragged her husband, brother‑in‑law, servants, relatives, friends. You played the role of Cecily in this mad world, and you do not know, but I am telling you, I Who know. You became saturated with Me, with My word, you informed people of My desires and the best among them understood and following you, a victim, many more have risen, and if your fatherland and the places dearer to you are not completely ruined, that is due to the fact that many victims have been consumed after your example and your ministry. Thank you, My blessed one. But go on. I have great need to save the earth, to buy the earth again, and you victims are the money.
May Wisdom, which taught saints and teaches you directly, elevate you more and more in the understanding of the Science of life and in its practice. Pitch your little tent near the house of the Lord. Nay, pitch the pegs of your own dwelling in the abode of Wisdom and live there without ever coming out. You will rest, under the protection of the Lord Who loves you, like a bird among flowery branches and He will shelter you from all spiritual storms and you will be in the light of the glory of God, from Whom words of peace and truth will descend for you.
Go in peace. I bless you, o blessed soul.»
Immediately afterwards Mary says:
« A present to Mary for her feast from Mother. A chain of presents. And if there are some thorns amongst them, do not complain to the Lord Who has loved you as He has loved few people.
I told you at the beginning: "Write about Me. All your sorrows will be comforted". You can now see that it was true. This gift had been put aside for this time of excitement, because we do not take care only of the spirit, but we also look after matter, which is not the queen but a useful servant to the spirit in fulfilling its mission.
Be grateful to the Most High, Who is really a Father to you, also in an affectionately human sense, and lulls you with sweet ecstasies to conceal from you what would frighten you. Love Me more and more. I have led you into the secrecy of My early years. You now know everything about Mother. Love Me as daughter and sister in our destiny of victims. And love God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit with perfect love. The blessing of the Father, of the Son and of the Spirit passes through My hands, is scented with My motherly love for you and it descends and rests upon you. Be supernaturally happy.»
16. The Annunciation.
8th March 1944.
What I see. Mary, a very young girl: She looks fifteen years old, at most. She is in a small rectangular room: a room most suitable for a girl. Along one of the longer walls, there is a bed: a low bed, without bedstead, covered with thick mats or carpets, which appear to be laid on boards or cane‑trellis, because they are very stiff and without any curve, as is usual with our beds. Against the other wall there is a kind of bookcase with an oil lamp, some rolls of parchment, some needlework carefully folded: it seems to be embroidery work.
Beside the bookcase, towards the door, which opens onto the kitchen garden and which is now covered by a curtain gently moved by a light breeze, there is the Virgin sitting on a low stool. She is spinning some linen which is as white as snow and as soft as silk. Her little hands, just a little darker than linen, are whirling the spindle very quickly. Her beautiful young face is slightly bent forward and She is smiling gently as if She were caressing or following some sweet thought.
There is a great silence in the little house and in the kitchen garden. There is a great peace both on Mary's face and in the surrounding place. There is peace and order. Everything is neat and tidy and the room, although very modest looking and very modestly furnished ‑it is almost as bare as a cell‑ has something austere and regal about it because of its cleanliness and the care with which everything is laid: the clothes on the bed, the rolls, the lamp, the copper pitcher near the lamp, with a bunch of branches in bloom in it. I do not know whether they are peach or pear branches. They are certainly branches of a fruit‑tree, with pinkish white flowers.
Mary begins to sing in a low voice, then She raises Her voice slightly. But She does not sing loudly. Still, it is a voice vibrating in the little room and one can perceive the vibration of Her soul in it. I do not understand the words as they are spoken in Hebrew. But as now and again She repeats « Jehovah » I realize that it is a sacred song, perhaps a psalm. Mary is probably remembering the songs of the Temple. And it must be a happy memory because She lays Her hands in Her lap, while still holding the yarn and the spindle, and lifts Her head leaning against the wall: Her face is beautifully flushed and Her eyes are lost behind... I wonder what sweet thought. Her eyes are shining with tears, which appear but do not overflow and they make Her eyes look larger. And yet those eyes are smiling, they are smiling at a thought they can see and by which Mary is abstracted from the earthly world. Mary's face, flushed and girded by the plaits She wears rolled up like a crown round Her head, seems a beautiful flower, as it emerges from Her plain white dress.
The song changes into a prayer: « Most High Lord God, do not delay any longer in sending Your Servant to bring peace to the world. Grant us the favourable time and the pure and prolific virgin for the coming of Your Christ. Father, Holy Father, grant Me, Your servant to offer My life for this purpose. Grant Me to die after seeing Your Light and Your Justice on earth and after knowing that our Redemption has been accomplished. O Holy Father, send the Promise of the Prophets to the earth. Send the Redeemer to Your maidservant, so that in the hour of My death, Your abode may be opened to Me, as its gates have already been opened by Your Christ for all those who have hoped in You. Come, come, O Spirit of the Lord. Come to the faithful who are expecting You. Come, Prince of Peace!...» Mary remains absorbed thus...
The curtain moves fast, as if someone behind it ventilated it or shook it to draw it. And a pearl white light mixed with pure silver makes the slightly yellow walls clearer and makes the colours of the cloths brighter and Mary's raised face more spiritual. And in such light, while the curtain is still drawn on the mystery to be accomplished, the Archangel prostrates himself: the curtain no longer moves: it is hanging stiff against the doorposts like a wall separating the inside from the outside.
The Angel must necessarily take a human appearance. But it is a transhumanised appearance. Of what flesh is this beautiful and gleaming figure made? With what substance did God form it to make it perceptible to the senses of the Virgin? Only God can possess such substances and use them so perfectly. It is a face, a body, eyes, a mouth, hair and hands like ours. But they are not our dull matter. It is a light that has taken the colour of flesh, of eyes, hair, lips, a light that moves and smiles, looks and speaks.
« Hail, Mary, full of Grace, Hail! » The voice is a sweet arpeggio as of pearls thrown on a precious metal plate.
Mary is startled and lowers Her head. And She is even more startled when She sees the shining creature kneeling at about a metre from Her and looking at Her with infinite veneration, his hands crossed over his chest.
Mary jumps to Her feet and She squeezes against the wall. She turns pale and red alternately. Her face shows surprise and fear. She subconsciously presses Her hands against Her breast hiding them under Her large sleeves. She stoops, endeavouring to conceal Her body as much as possible. An attitude of gentle modesty.
« No. Do not fear. The Lord is with You! You are blessed amongst all women! »
But Mary continues to be afraid. Where has that extraordinary being come from? Is he a messenger of God or of the Deceiver?
« Do not fear, Mary! » repeats the Archangel. « I am Gabriel, the Angel of God. My Lord has sent me to You. Do not be afraid, because You have found grace in the eyes of God. And You will conceive and bear a Son and You will call Him "Jesus": He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High (and such He will really be). And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Ancestor David and He will rule over the House of Jacob for ever, and His reign will have no end. Understand, o Holy Virgin loved by God, Daughter blessed by Him, called to be the Mother of His Son, what Son You will generate! »
« How can this come about, since I do not know man? Perhaps the Lord God will no longer accept the offer of His maidservant and does not want Me a Virgin for His love? »
« Not by deed of man You will be a mother, Mary. You are the Eternal Virgin, the Holy Virgin of God. The Holy Spirit will come upon You and the power of the Most High will cover You with its shadow. So the Child born of You will be called Holy and Son of God. Our Lord God can do everything. Elizabeth, the barren one, in her old age has conceived a son who will be the Prophet of Your Son, and will prepare His ways. The Lord has removed her disgrace and her memory will remain amongst peoples together with Your name, as the name of her creature will be joined to the name of Your Holy Son, and until the end of centuries you will be called blessed, because of the grace of the Lord which has come to you both and particularly to You, by means of Whom Grace has come to all peoples. Elizabeth is in her sixth month and her burden lifts her to joy, and will lift her even more when she hears of Your joy. Nothing is impossible to the Lord, Mary, full of Grace. What shall I tell my Lord? Let no thought whatsoever disturb You. He will protect Your interests if You trust in Him. The world, Heaven, the Eternal Father are awaiting Your word! »
Mary crosses Her hands over Her breast and bowing down deeply, She says: « I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let what you have said be done to Me.»
The Angel shines out of joy. He kneels in adoration because he certainly sees the Spirit of God descend upon the Virgin bent down in assent, and he disappears without moving the curtain, but leaves it well drawn over the holy Mystery.
17. The Disobedience of Eve and the Obedience of Mary.
5th March 1944.
«...Do we not read in Genesis that God made man the overlord of everything on the earth, that is everything except God and His angelical ministers? Do we not read that He made the woman the companion of man in his joy and his domination over all living beings? Do we not read that they were allowed to eat of everything with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil? Why? What is the meaning of the words "that he might rule"? And what is the meaning of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil? Have you ever asked these questions, you man, who ask so many useless ones and never ask your soul about heavenly truths? Your soul would tell you, if it were alive, because a soul in grace is held like a flower in the hands of your angel, and like a flower it is kissed by the sun and sprinkled with dew by the Holy Spirit, Who warms and illuminates it, sprays and decorates it with heavenly lights. How many truths your soul would tell you, if you only knew how to converse with it, if you loved your soul that makes you like God, Who is a spirit, as your soul is a spirit. What a great friend you would have if you loved your soul instead of hating it to the extent of killing it; what a great and sublime friend with whom you could talk of celestial matters, since you men are so eager to talk and you ruin one another with friendships which, if they are not unworthy ones (as sometimes they are), they are almost always useless and they turn into a vain and damaging tumult of worldly words.
Did I not say: "If anyone loves Me he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make Our home with him"? The soul in grace possesses love, and by possessing love it possesses God, that is the Father Who preserves it, the Son Who teaches it, the Spirit Who illuminates it. It therefore possesses Knowledge, Science, Wisdom, Light. Consider therefore what sublime conversations your soul could hold with you. Such conversations filled the silence of prisons, the silence of cells, the silence of hermitages, the silence of the rooms of holy sick people. Such conversations were the consolation of prisoners awaiting martyrdom, of cloistered monks and nuns searching for the Truth, of hermits longing for an advanced knowledge of God, of sick people in bearing, nay, in loving their crosses.
If you knew how to question your soul, you would be told that the true, extensive meaning ‑as comprehensive as creation itself‑ of the words "that he might rule" is this: "That man might dominate everything, that is his three states. The lower state, the animal one. The middle state, the moral one. The superior state, the spiritual one. And all three of them are to be directed to one sole aim: to possess God". To possess Him by deserving Him through a strict control which subdues all the power of one's ego and conveys it to one only purpose: to deserve to possess God. Your soul would tell you that God had forbidden the knowledge of good and evil, because He had already granted good to His creatures gratuitously, and He did not want you to know evil, because it is a sweet fruit to taste, but once its juice becomes part of your blood, it causes a fever that kills you and produces a parching thirst, so that the more one drinks of that false juice, the more thirsty one becomes.
You may object: "And why did He put it there?" Because evil is a force that originated by itself like certain monstrous diseases in the most wholesome body.
Lucifer was an angel, the most beautiful of all the angels, a perfect spirit, inferior only to God, and yet in his bright essence a vapour of pride arose and he did not scatter it. On the contrary, he condensed it by brooding over it. And Evil was born of this incubation. It existed before man. God had hurled him out of Paradise, the cursed incubator of Evil, who had desecrated Paradise. But he is the eternal incubator of Evil and as he can no longer soil Paradise, he has soiled the earth.
That metaphorical tree proves this truth. God had said to the man and the woman: "You know all the laws and the mysteries of creation. But do not infringe on My right of being the Creator of man. My love will suffice for the propagation of the human race and it will spread among you and will excite the new Adams of the race without any lust of the senses but with purely charitable pulsations. I have given you everything. I am only keeping for Myself this mystery of the formation of man".
Satan wanted to deprive man of this intellectual virginity and with his venomous tongue he blandished and caressed Eve's limbs and eyes, exciting reflections and a perspicacity which they did not have before, because malice had not yet intoxicated them.
She "saw". And seeing, she wanted to try. Her flesh was aroused. Oh! If she had called to God! If she had hurried to Him saying: "Father! The Serpent has caressed me and I am upset". The Father would have purified and healed her with His breath, which could have infused new innocence into her as it had infused life. And it would have made her forget the snake's poison, nay it would have engendered in her a disgust for the Serpent, as it happens in those who bear an instinctive dislike for diseases of which they have just been cured. But Eve does not go to the Father. Eve goes back to the Serpent. The sensation is a sweet one for her. "Seeing that the fruit of the tree was good to eat and pleasing and agreeable to the eye, she took it and ate it".
And "she understood". Now Malice was inside her and was gnawing at her intestines. She saw with new eyes and heard with new ears the habits and voices of beasts. And she craved for them with insane greed.
She began the sin by herself. She accomplished it with her companion. That is why a heavier sentence is laid on woman. Because of her, man has become rebellious towards God and has become acquainted with lewdness and death. Because of her, he was no longer capable of dominating his three reigns: the reign of the spirit, because he allowed the spirit to disobey God; the moral reign, because he allowed passions to master him; the reign of the flesh, because he lowered it down to the instinctive level of beasts. "The Serpent seduced me" says Eve. "The woman offered me the fruit and I ate of it" says Adam. And the triple greed has ruled the three dominions since then.
Only Grace can relax the hold of this ruthless monster. And if Grace is alive, nay thoroughly alive, and kept more and more alive by the good will of a faithful son, it will succeed in strangling the monster and will no longer have anything to fear. It will not be afraid of internal tyrants, which are the flesh and passions; neither will it be afraid of external tyrants, these are the world and the mighty ones on the earth. It will dread neither persecutions nor death. It is as Paul the Apostle says: "I fear none of these things, neither do I care for my life more than I care for myself, provided I carry out the mission and the ministry the Lord Jesus gave me, and that was to bear witness to the Good News of God's Grace".[...]
8th March 1944.
« I obeyed in My joy, because when I understood the mission to which God called Me, I was full of joy, My heart opened like a closed lily and it shed that blood which was to become the soil for the Lord's Seed.
The joy of being a mother.
I had consecrated Myself to God since My childhood, because the light of the Most High had shown Me the cause of evil in the world and, as far as it was in My power, I wanted to remove from Myself every trace of Satan.
I did not know I was without stain. I could not think I was. That simple thought would have been presumption and pride, because, since I was born of human parents, it was not right for Me to think that I was the Chosen One to be the Faultless One. The Spirit of God had informed Me of the pain of the Father because of the corruption of Eve, who had lowered herself to the level of inferior creatures, whereas she was a creature of grace. It was My intention to soothe that pain by remaining unprofaned by human thoughts, wishes and contacts and thus restoring an angelical purity in My body. The palpitations of My heart were to be only for Him, and only for Him My whole being.
But if there was no passion of the flesh in Me, there was still the sacrifice of not being a mother. Also Eve had been granted by the Father Creator the gift of maternity, a maternity devoid of what now degrades it. The sweet and pure maternity without a sensual burden! I experienced it! Of how much did Eve divest herself by giving up such wealth! More than immortality. And do not think that I am exaggerating. My Jesus and I, His Mother, with Him, have experienced the languor of death. I, the sweet languor of a tired person who falls asleep, Jesus, the intense languor of who dies sentenced to death. So we also experienced death. But only I, the new Eve, experienced maternity without any kind of profanation, that I might tell the world how sweet was the destiny of woman called to be a mother without any bodily pain. And the desire of such pure maternity was possible and actually existed in the Virgin wholly devoted to God, because that maternity is the glory of woman.
If you consider in what high esteem the Israelites held a mother, you will realise even more what sacrifice I had made when I consecrated Myself to virginity. Now the Eternal Good Father granted Me, His servant, this gift, without divesting Me of the purity I had clothed Myself in to be a flower on His throne. And I rejoiced with the double joy of being the mother of a man and the Mother of God.
The joy of being the Woman by means of Whom peace was reestablished between Heaven and earth.
Oh! What a joy to have desired this peace for the sake of God and of men and to know that it was coming to the world through Me, the poor handmaid of the Almighty! What a joy to say: "Men, do not cry any longer. I have in Me the secret that will make you happy. I cannot tell what it is because it is sealed in Me, in My heart, just as the Son is enclosed in My inviolate womb. But I am already bringing it to you, and the moment when you will see Him and hear His Holy name is getting nearer and nearer".
The joy of having made God happy: the joy of the believer for his God made happy.
Oh! The joy of removing from God's heart the bitterness of Eve's disobedience, pride and disbelief!
My Jesus explained the fault with which the first Couple got stained. I redeemed that sin by going up the same stages as they descended.
Disobedience was the beginning of the downfall: "Do not eat and do not touch of that tree" said God. And man and woman did not respect that prohibition, although as kings of creation they were allowed to touch and eat of everything except of that tree because God wanted them to be inferior only to angels.
The tree: the means to test their obedience. What does obedience to God's commands imply? It implies all possible good, because God commands nothing but good. What is disobedience? It is evil, because it brings about a rebellious mental state in which Satan can be active.
Eve goes toward the tree, which, if avoided, would have caused her welfare, if approached, would cause her ruin. She goes there led by the childish curiosity of seeing what is special about it, and by a rashness that makes her consider God's command a useless one since she is strong and pure, the queen of Eden, where everything is subject to her and nothing can hurt her. Her presumption is her ruin. Presumption is the yeast of pride.
At the tree she finds the Seducer, who sings his song of lies to her inexperience, to her beautiful virginal inexperience, to her badly guarded inexperience. "You think there is evil here? No, there isn't. God told you because He wants to keep you as slaves under His power. You think you are king and queen? You are not even as free as wild animals. Animals can love one another with true love. You cannot. Animals are granted the gift of being creators like God. Animals generate little ones and see their families grow as much as they like. You do not. You are denied this joy. Why make you man and woman if you have to live thus? Be gods. You do not know the joy of being two in one flesh, that creates a third one and many more. Do not believe God when He promised you the joy of posterity seeing your children forming new families, leaving their father and mother for their families. He has given you a sham life: real life is to know the laws of life. Then you will be like gods and will be able to say to God: 'We are equal to You' ".
And the allurement continued because there was no will to break it, on the contrary there was the will to continue it and to learn what did not belong to man. And the forbidden tree becomes really mortal for the human race because from its branches there hangs the fruit of bitter knowledge that comes from Satan. And the woman becomes a female and with the yeast of Satanic knowledge in her heart, she moves on to corrupt Adam. With their bodies and souls degraded and their morals corrupted, they became acquainted with sorrow and the death of both their souls deprived of Grace and of their bodies divested of immortality. And Eve's wound engendered suffering, which will not subside until the last couple on earth are dead.
I went along the road of the two sinners, but in the opposite direction: I obeyed. I obeyed in every way. God inspired Me to be a virgin. I obeyed. When I loved virginity that made Me as pure as the first woman before she met Satan, God asked Me to get married. I obeyed, elevating marriage to the degree of purity intended by God when He created the First Parents. I was then convinced that My destiny was solitude in marriage and the contempt of people because of My holy sterility, when God asked Me to be a Mother. I obeyed. I believed that it was possible and that the word came from God, because I was filled with peace when I heard it. I did not think: "I deserved it". I did not say: "Now the world will admire Me, because I am like God, creating the flesh of God". No, I did not. I lowered Myself in My humility.
Joy gushed out of My heart like the stem of a rose. But it was soon decorated with sharp thorns and it was clenched in the tangle of sorrow, like branches enveloped by the bearbines of convolvuli (1). Sorrow for the pain of My spouse: it suffocated My joy. Sorrow for the pain of My Son: a thorn that pierced My joy.
Eve wanted pleasure, triumph, freedom. I accepted sorrow, humiliation, slavery. I gave up My peaceful life, the esteem of My spouse, My own freedom. I kept nothing for Myself. I became the maid of God in the flesh, in morals, in the spirit, relying on Him not only for the virginal conception, but also for the protection of My honour, for the consolation of My spouse, for the means suitable to elevate him also to the sublimation of marriage, so that we could restore man and woman to their lost dignity. I embraced the will of the Lord for Myself, My spouse and My Creature.
I said "Yes" for the whole three, as I was certain that God would not break His promise to assist Me in My sorrow of a spouse who realises she is considered guilty, and of a mother who knows she is generating a Son to deliver Him to sorrow. I said "Yes" and nothing else. That "Yes" cancelled Eve's "No" to God's command. "Yes, My Lord, as You wish. I will know what You want Me to know. I will live as You want Me to live. I will rejoice if You wish so. I will suffer for what You want Me to suffer. Yes, for ever, My Lord, from the moment Your ray made Me a Mother to the moment You called Me back to You. 'Yes', for ever 'Yes'. All the good voices of the flesh, all the good passions of the spirit were under the weight of My perpetual 'Yes'. And above, on a
(1) A genus of climbing plants, including the bindweed.
diamond pedestal, there was My spirit, lacking wings to fly to You, but it was the master of the whole 'ego' subdued and made Your servant. Servant in joy, servant in sorrow. But smile, o God. And be happy. Guilt has been defeated. It has been removed and destroyed. It lies under My heel, it was washed in My tears and destroyed by My obedience. The new Tree will be born of My bosom and it will bear the Fruit that knows all the evil because It suffered it all in Itself and will give all the good. All men will be able to come to It and I shall be happy if they take of It, even if they do not remember that It was born of Me. Providing man is saved and God is loved, let it be done to His handmaid what is done to a clod of earth on which a tree is planted: a step to ascend".
Mary, we must always be steps so that other people may ascend to God. It does not matter if they tread on us, providing they are successful in reaching the Cross. It is the new tree that has the knowledge of Good and Evil, because it tells man what is good and what is evil so that he may choose and live and at the same time it is a medicine that cures those who are intoxicated by the evil they wanted to taste. Let our hearts be under the feet of men, that the number of the redeemed may increase and the Blood of My Jesus not be shed fruitlessly. That is the destiny of the maids of God. But then we deserve to receive the holy Host in our hearts and to say at the foot of the Cross drenched with His Blood and our tears: "Here is, o Father, the immaculate Host which we offer to You for the salvation of the world. Look at us, Father, melted with It and give us Your blessing for Its infinite merits".
And I give you My caresses. Rest now, My dear daughter. The Lord is with you. »
« My Mother's words should disperse all perplexity of thought also in the minds most confused and muddled by pseudo science [...].
I said: "metaphorical tree". Now I will say: "symbolical tree". Perhaps you will understand better. Its symbol is clear: the inclination to good and to evil of the two children of God, would be understood by their behaviour towards the tree. Like 'aqua regia' that tests gold and the scales of the goldsmith that weigh its carats, that tree, by God's command, became a means of testing and it gave the measure of Adam's and Eve's symbolic metal purity.
I can already hear your objection: "Was the punishment not excessive and the means used to condemn them not childish?"
Not so. Actual disobedience in you, who are their heirs, is not so grave as if it were in them. You have been redeemed by Me. But Satan's poison is always ready to rise again, like certain diseases that never disappear completely in the blood. The First Parents possessed Grace without ever even nearing Disgrace. They were therefore stronger and more firmly supported by Grace that generated love and innocence. The gift given them by God was infinite. Much graver is therefore their fall notwithstanding that gift.
Also the fruit that was offered and eaten was symbolical. It was the fruit of an experience they wanted to have at Satan's instigation to break God's command. I had not forbidden men love. I only wanted them to love each other without malice; as I loved them in My holiness, they were to love each other in the holiness of affections unsoiled by lewdness.
It must not be forgotten that Grace is light, and whoever possesses it knows what is good and useful to know. Mary, Full of Grace, knew everything, because Wisdom taught Her, Wisdom that is Grace, and She knew how to live in a holy way. Also Eve knew what was good for her to know. But not more, because it is valueless to know what is not good. But she did not have faith in God's word, and was not faithful to her promise of obedience. She believed in Satan, she broke her promise, she wanted to know what was not good, she loved it without regret, she turned love into something corrupt and degraded, which I instead had permitted as something holy. A sullied angel, she wallowed in mud and litter, whereas she could have run happily amongst the flowers of the earthly Paradise and she could have seen her offspring flourish around her, like a plant that is covered with flowers without bending its leaves into the mire.
Do not be like the foolish children mentioned by Me in the Gospel; they heard other children sing and they stopped their ears, they heard them play the pipes and they did not dance, they heard them weep and they wanted to laugh. Do not be narrow‑minded, do not be deniers. Accept the Light without malice and stubbornness, without irony and disbelief. Enough said about that.
To make you understand how grateful you must be to Him Who died to elevate you to Heaven and to defeat Satan's concupiscence, I wanted to speak to you, in this period of preparation for Easter, of what was the first link of the chain by which the Word of the Father was dragged to death, the Divine Lamb to the slaughterhouse. I wanted to speak to you about it, because at present ninety per cent of you are like Eve intoxicated by Lucifer's breath and words, and you do not live, to love one another, but to glut yourselves with sensuality, you do not live for Heaven but for filth, you are no longer creatures gifted with soul and reason, but dogs without soul and without reason. You have killed your souls and perverted your reason. I solemnly tell you that brutes surpass you in the honesty of their love.»
18. The Annunciation of Elizabeth's Pregnancy to Joseph.
25th March 1944.
The little house of Nazareth appears to me with Mary in it. Mary, a young girl, as when the Angel of God appeared to Her. This simple sight fills my soul with the virginal perfume of the house. The scent still remains in the room where the Angel gently waved his golden wings. That divine perfume was all concentrated on Mary to make a mother of Her and it now emanates from Her.
It is evening, because shadows begin to invade the room into which so much heavenly light had descended.
Mary is kneeling near Her little bed and is praying with Her arms crossed over Her breast and Her face bowed down very low. She is still dressed as She was at the moment of the Annunciation. Everything is exactly as it was then. The flowery branch is in its vase, the furniture in the same position. Only the distaff and the spindle are now leaning in a comer, the former with its flax, the latter with its bright thread wrapped around it.
Mary stops praying and stands up, Her face is flushed as if it were lit up by a flame. Her lips are smiling, but Her eyes are shining with tears. She takes the oil lamp and lights it with a flint. She checks that everything is in good order in the room. She straightens up the blanket on the bed as it had been displaced. She adds some water to the vase containing the flowery branch and She places it outside, in the cool of the night. She then comes back in. She takes the folded embroidery from the bookcase and the lamp and goes out closing the door. She takes a few steps in the little kitchen garden, along the side of the house and then goes into the little room where I saw the parting goodbye of Jesus and Mary. I recognise it although some pieces of furniture which were there previously are now missing.
Mary disappears into another small adjoining room, taking the lamp with Her, and I am left alone in the company of the embroidery work laid on the corner of the table. I can hear Mary's light steps moving to and fro, She then makes a noise with water as if She were washing something. Then there is the noise of broken sticks and I understand that She is lighting the fire.
Then She comes back and goes into the little garden. She comes in once again with some apples and vegetables. She puts the apples on the table, on an engraved metal tray, possibly made of copper. She goes back into the kitchen, (for the kitchen is certainly over there). Now the flames of the fireplace are merrily casting light through the open door into this room and make dancing shadows on the wall.
Some time goes by and Mary comes in with a small brown loaf and a bowl of hot milk. She sits down and dips some small slices of bread into the milk. She eats them slowly. Then leaving half of the bowl of milk, She goes into the kitchen and comes back with the vegetables on which She pours some oil and She eats them with the bread. She quenches Her thirst with the milk. She then takes an apple and eats it. The meal of a little girl.
Mary eats and thinks, and She smiles at some inner thought. She looks up and all around the walls and seems to be telling them a secret. Now and again, She becomes serious, almost sad. But soon Her smile is back on Her lips again.
There is a knocking at the door. Mary gets up and opens it. Joseph comes in. They greet each other. Then Joseph sits on a stool in front of Mary, on the opposite side of the table.
Joseph is a handsome man in the prime of life. He must be thirty-five years old at most. His face is framed by his dark brown hair and a beard of the same colour and his eyes are very sweet and very dark, almost black. His forehead is large and smooth, his nose thin and slightly aquiline, his cheeks are roundish of a brown hue, but not olive‑coloured, on the contrary they are rosy near the cheek‑bones. He is not very tall, but he is strong and well built.
Before sitting down he has taken off his mantle and it is the first I have seen of its kind, because it is a full circle. It is held close at the neck by a kind of hook and it has a hood. The colour is light brown and it seems to be made of a cloth of coarse wool proof against water. It looks like the mantle of a mountaineer suitable to shelter from inclement weather.
Also before sitting down he offers Mary two eggs and a bunch of grapes, somewhat withered, but well preserved. And he smiles saying: « The grapes were brought to me from Cana. I was given the eggs by a Centurion for some repair work I did to his cart. A wheel was broken and their carpenter is ill. They are new laid. He took them from the hen house. Drink them. They will do You good.»
« To‑morrow Joseph. I have just finished My meal.»
« But You can take the grapes. They are good, as sweet as honey. I carried them very carefully, so that they would not get spoiled. Eat them. There are plenty more. I'll bring them to‑morrow in a little basket. I couldn't this evening, because I came straight from the Centurion's house.»
« Well, then, you have not had any supper yet.»
« No, I haven't, but it does not matter.»
Mary gets up at once and goes into the kitchen and She comes back with some milk, some olives and cheese. « I have nothing else » She says. « Take an egg. »
But Joseph does not want it. The eggs are for Mary. He eats with relish his bread and the cheese and he drinks the lukewarm milk. He then accepts an apple. And his supper is over.
Mary takes Her embroidery after cleaning the table and Joseph helps Her and he remains in the kitchen even when She comes back here. I can hear him putting things away. He pokes the fire because it is a cool evening. When he comes in, Mary thanks him.
They speak to each other. Joseph tells Her how he spent the day. He talks of his little nephews and he takes an interest in Mary's work and in Her flowers. He promises to bring Her some beautiful flowers which the Centurion has promised him. « They are flowers we haven't got here. They were brought from Rome. And he promised me some little plants. Now, when the moon is in the right quarter I will plant them for You. They have lovely colours and a beautiful scent. I saw them last year, because they bloom in summer. They will scent the whole house for You. Then I will prune the trees when the moon is right. It is time.»
Mary smiles and thanks him. Then there is silence. Joseph looks at Mary's fair head bowed over Her embroidery. A look of angelical love. Certainly, if an angel were to love a woman with the love of a husband, he would look at her thus.
Then Mary, as if She were taking a sudden decision, lays the embroidery on Her lap and says: « I also have something to tell you. I never have anything to say, because you know how retired I live. But today I have some news. I heard that our relative Elizabeth, Zacharias' wife, is about to have a child... »
Joseph opens his eyes wide and exclaims: « At her age? »
« At her age » replies Mary smiling. « The Lord can do everything, and now He is giving this joy to our relative.»
« How do you know? Is the news certain? »
« A messenger came. One who would not tell lies. I would like to go to Elizabeth's, to help her and tell her that I am rejoicing with her. If you will allow Me... »
« Mary, You are my lady and I Your servant. Whatever You do is well done. When would You like to go? »
« As soon as possible. But I shall be away for some months.»
« And I will count the days waiting for You. Go and don't worry. I will look after the house and Your little garden. You will find the flowers as beautiful as if You had taken care of them. Only... wait. Before Passover I must go to Jerusalem to buy certain things for my work. If You can wait for a few days, I will come with You as far as Jerusalem. I can't go any farther, because I must hurry back. But we can go there together. I will be happier if I know that You are not on the road by Yourself. When You want to come back, You can let me know and I will come and meet You. »
« You are so good, Joseph. May the Lord reward you with His blessings and keep sorrow away from you. I always pray Him for that. »
The chaste couple smile at each other angelically. There is silence again for a little while.
Then Joseph gets up. He puts his mantle on and he covers his head with the hood. He says goodbye to Mary Who has also got up, and he goes out.
Mary looks at him going out and She sighs rather sadly. She then lifts Her eyes to Heavens. She is certainly praying. She closes the door carefully. She folds the embroidery. She goes into the kitchen, puts out or covers up the fire. She makes sure that everything is in order. She then takes the oil lamp and goes out closing the door. With Her hand She shields the feeble flame that flickers in the cool evening breeze... She enters Her room and prays once again.
The vision ends thus.
« My dear daughter, when I came back to the reality of earthly life after the ecstasy that had filled Me with inexpressible joy, My first thought was for Joseph: a thought as sharp as a rose thorn, that pierced My heart enraptured among the roses of Divine Love, Who had become My Spouse only a few moments before.
By this time I loved My holy and provident guardian. Since the time when by the will of God, manifested to Me by the word of the Priest, I had become married to Joseph, I had the possibility of knowing and appreciating the holiness of that Just man. When I became united to him, My dismay at being an orphan disappeared and I no longer regretted the lost retreat of the Temple. He was as sweet as My deceased father. With him I felt as safe as with the Priest. All perplexity had disappeared, nay it had been forgotten, so far it was from My virginal heart. I had in fact understood that there was no reason whatsoever for hesitation or fear with regard to Joseph. My virginity entrusted to Joseph was safer than a child in his mother's arms.
But now, how could I tell him that I was a Mother? I endeavoured to find suitable words to give him the news. A difficult task, as I did not want to boast of God's gift and on the other hand there was no way of justifying My maternity without saying: "The Lord has loved Me amongst all women and has made Me, His servant, His Bride". Neither did I wish to deceive him by concealing My condition from him.
And while I was praying, the Spirit of Whom I was full, said to Me: "Be silent. Entrust Me with the task of justifying You with Your spouse". When? How? I did not ask. I had always relied upon God, and I had always allowed Myself to be led by Him exactly as a flower is led away by running water. The Eternal Father had never abandoned Me without His help. His hand had always supported, protected and guided Me so far. It would do so also now.
O My daughter, how beautiful and comforting is faith in our Eternal Good God! He holds us in His arms as in a cradle, like a boat He steers us into the bright harbour of Goodness, He warms our hearts, comforts and nourishes us, He bestows rest and happiness, light and guidance on us. Reliance in God is everything, and God grants everything to those who trust in Him: He gives Himself.
That evening I elevated to perfection My reliance as a creature. Now I was able to do so, because God was in Me. Before I had the confidence of a poor creature, such as I was: a mere nothing, even if I was so much loved as to be the Faultless One. But now I had a divine confidence, because God was Mine: My Spouse, My Son! Oh! What a joy! To be One with God. Not for My own glory, but to love Him with a total union and say to Him: "You, only You are in Me: please assist Me with Your Divine perfection in everything I do".
If He had not said to Me: "Be silent!", I would probably have dared say to Joseph, with My face bowed to the ground: "The Spirit has penetrated Me and now the Embryo of God is in Me", and he would have believed Me, because he held Me in high esteem and because like those who never lie, he could not believe that others lied. Yes, to avoid hurting his feelings in future, I would have overcome My reluctance to praise Myself. But I obeyed the divine command. And for months after that moment, I felt the first wound pierce My heart.
It was the first pain in My destiny of Co‑Redeemer. I offered and suffered it in atonement and to give you a guidance for similar circumstances in life, when it is necessary to suffer in silence for an event that casts a bad light on you in relation to those who love you.
Entrust God with the protection of your reputation and affections. If you deserve God's protection with a holy life, you can proceed safely. Even if the whole world is against you, He will defend you with regard to those who love you and will cause the truth to be known.
Now rest, My dear, and be more and more My dear daughter.»
19. Mary and Joseph Set Out for Jerusalem.
27th March 1944.
I see their departure to go to St. Elizabeth's.
Joseph has come with two little donkeys to fetch Mary: one for himself, the other for Mary: one of the little animals has the usual saddle with a strange gadget attached to it. Later I gather that it is a kind of a luggage‑rack on which Joseph fastens a small wooden casket, a small trunk we would call it nowadays, which he brought for Mary's clothes, to prevent them from getting wet.
I hear Mary thank Joseph wholeheartedly for the provident gift, in which She packs what She takes out of a parcel She had made up previously.
They close the door of the house and start off. It is daybreak, for I can see the rosy dawn in the east. Nazareth is still asleep. The two early travellers meet only a shepherd who is driving forward his little sheep, which are trotting along, one against the other, jammed in close flock. They are all bleating. The little lambs with their shrill sharp voices bleat more than the others, and want their mothers' breasts even while moving. But the mothers are hurrying towards the pastures and with their louder bleatings they urge the little ones to follow them.
Mary looks and smiles and since She has stopped to let the herd go by, She bends on the saddle and caresses the mild little beasts that pass near Her donkey. When the shepherd arrives carrying a newly‑born little lamb in his arms and he stops to speak to Mary, She smiles and caresses the pinkish little face of the lamb, that is bleating desperately and She exclaims: «It's looking for its mother. Here is your mother. She won't leave you, of course she won't, little lamb.» In fact the ewe rubs herself against the shepherd, then stands up on her hind legs and licks the face of her little one.
The herd passes by making the noise of water drops falling on leaves. Behind it there is the dust raised by the trotting feet of the sheep and the patterns of their footprints on the dusty road.
Joseph and Mary take to the road again. Joseph is wearing his large mantle, Mary has on a kind of a striped shawl, because it is a very cool morning.
They are now in the country and they are proceeding one beside the other. They seldom speak. Joseph is thinking of his business, Mary is following Her own thoughts and in Her concentration She smiles at them. At times She looks around and smiles at the things She sees. Now and again She looks at Joseph and then an expression of sad gravity darkens Her face; then She smiles again, still looking at Her provident spouse who speaks so little and when he does speak it is only to ask Her whether She is comfortable and whether She needs anything.
By now there are many people on the road, particularly near and inside villages. But Mary and Joseph do not pay much attention to the people they meet. They proceed on their trotting donkeys, in the midst of the noise of the harness bells, and they stop only once in the shade of a thicket, to eat some bread and olives and to drink at a well that runs down from a grotto. They stop later to take shelter from a sudden heavy downpour from a very dark cloud.
They have taken cover under the mountain, against a protruding rock that protects them from most of the heavy rain. Joseph wants Mary to put on his big mantle, which is proof against water and he insists so much that Mary is obliged to yield to the insistence of Her spouse, who to reassure Her of his own immunity, covers his head and shoulders with a small grey blanket which was on the saddle. Probably the donkey's blanket. Now Mary looks like a little monk, with Her face framed by the hood and the mantle closed round Her neck and covering all Her body.
The shower slackens and turns into a tedious drizzling rain. Mary and Joseph start off again along a muddy road. But it is springtime and after a short while the sun makes the journey more comfortable. Also the two little donkeys are now trotting more happily along the road.
I do not see anything else because the vision ends here.
20. From Jerusalem to Zacharias' House.
28th March 1944.
We are in Jerusalem. I know the town very well now, with its streets and gates.
The first thing Mary and Joseph do is to go to the Temple. I recognise the stable where Joseph left his donkey on the day of Jesus' presentation in the Temple. Also now he leaves the two donkeys there, after feeding them, and then he goes with Mary to worship the Lord.
When they come out, they enter a house which apparently belongs to people they know. They take some refreshment there and Mary rests until Joseph comes back with a little old man. «This man is going Your way. You will not have to travel a long way by Yourself to get to Your relatives. You can trust him because I know him.»
They get on their donkeys again and Joseph goes with Mary as far as the Gate (it is not the one they entered but a different one) and they part there. Mary proceeds with the little old man who is as talkative as Joseph was silent and takes an interest in many things. Mary answers him patiently. In front of the saddle She has now the little trunk which Joseph's donkey had carried earlier and She is no longer wearing the large mantle. Neither has She on the shawl, which is folded on the trunk, and She is really beautiful in Her dark blue dress and white veil that protects Her from the sun. How beautiful She is!
The old man must be somewhat deaf, because Mary, Who is wont to speak in a very low voice, had to speak loudly to make Herself heard. And now he is tired. He has finished with all his questions and news and is dozing on the saddle, led by the donkey that is familiar with the road.
Mary takes advantage of this respite to collect Her thoughts and to pray. It must be a prayer that She sings in a low voice, looking at the blue sky, with Her arms crossed over Her breast, while Her face is bright and happy because of some internal emotion.
I see nothing else.
And even now that the vision is interrupted, as it happened yesterday, I am left with Mother near me, visible to my internal sight so clearly that I can describe for you the light rosy hue of Her cheeks, not very chubby but gently soft, the bright red of Her little lips and Her clear blue eyes sweetly shining between Her dark-blond eyelashes.
I can tell you how Her hair, divided into two on the crown of Her head, falls softly with three undulations on each side, as far down as to cover half of Her little rosy ears, and then disappears with its pale shiny gold behind the veil covering Her head (because I see Her with Her mantle over Her head, wearing a dress of paradisiac silk and a dark mantle, as thin as a veil, of the same cloth as the dress).
I can tell you that Her dress is tight round Her neck by means of a sheathing inside which runs a cord the ends of which form a knot in front at the base of Her neck. Likewise Her dress is gathered at Her waist by a thicker cord, also of white silk, hanging down Her side with two tassels.
I can even tell you that Her dress, tight as it is at Her neck and waist, forms seven round soft folds on Her breast, the only ornament of Her very modest garment.
I can inform you of the chastity emanating from all Her aspect, from Her so delicate and harmonious forms which make Her such an angelical woman.
And the more I look at Her the more I suffer thinking of how much they made Her suffer and I wonder how they could have had no mercy on Her, so meek and kind, so delicate also in Her physical appearance. I look at Her and I can hear once again all the shouting on Calvary, also against Her, all the mockery and insults, all the maledictions shouted against Her because She was the Mother of the Convict. Now I see Her beautiful and tranquil. But Her present countenance does not cancel the memory of Her tragical face during those hours of agony, or that of Her desolate face in the house in Jerusalem, after Jesus' death. And I would like to be able to caress and kiss Her cheek, so delicately rosy and soft, to remove with my kiss that remembrance of grievous tears, as She certainly remembers as I do.
You cannot believe how much peace it gives me to have Her near me. I think that to die seeing Her must be as sweet and even sweeter than the sweetest hour of one's lifetime. During the time that I did not see Her thus, all for myself, Her absence was a great sorrow to me, just like the absence of a mother. I now feel once again the ineffable joy which was my companion in December and early January. And I am happy, notwithstanding that the sight of the torture of the Passion casts a veil of grief on all my happiness.
It is difficult to explain and make you understand what I feel and what has been happening since February the eleventh, when in the evening I saw Jesus suffer in His Passion. That sight has changed me completely. Whether I die now or in one hundred years' time, that vision will always be the same in intensity and consequences. Previously I used to think of the sorrows of Christ, now I live them, because one word, or a glance at an image is enough to make me suffer all over again what I suffered that evening and be horrified at those tortures; and I grieve over His desolate sufferings, and even if nothing reminds me of them, their remembrance tears my heart.
Mary is beginning to speak and I become silent.
«I will not speak much, because You are very tired, My poor daughter. I only wish to draw your attention and the attention of readers to the constant habit of Joseph and Mine of giving priority to prayer. Tiredness, haste, worries, occupations never hindered our prayer, on the contrary they helped it. It was always the queen of our occupations, our relief, our light, our hope. If in sad moments it was a consolation, in happy ones it was a song. But it was always the constant friend of our souls. It detached us from the earth, from our exile, and it raised us up towards Heaven, our Fatherland.
Not only I, Who by now had God with Me and I had but to look at My bosom to worship the Holy of Holies, but also Joseph felt united to God when he prayed, because our prayers were a true adoration of our whole beings, which melted with God by worshipping Him and by being embraced by Him.
And please note that not even I, although I had the Eternal God in Me, not even I felt exempted from respectful homage to the Temple. The deepest holiness does not exempt anyone from feeling a mere nothing with regard to God and from converting such nothingness into an endless hosanna to God's glory, since He allows us to do so.
Are you weak, poor, faulty? Invoke the holiness of the Lord: "Holy, Holy, Holy!" Invoke the Blessed Holy One to assist you in your misery. He will come and instil His holiness into you. Are you holy and rich in merits in the eyes of God? Invoke the holiness of the Lord just the same. It is infinite and will increase yours. The angels, who are superior to the weaknesses of mankind, do not cease singing their "Sanctus" not even for an instant, and their supernatural beauty increases with each invocation of the holiness of our God. Imitate the angels.
Never divest yourselves of the protection of prayer, which blunts the weapons of Satan, the malice of the world, the incentives of the flesh and mental pride. Never lay down this weapon, which causes Heaven to open and pour out Its graces and blessings.
The world needs a shower of prayers to be purified from the sins that draw punishments from God. And since only few people pray, those few must pray as if they were many. They must multiply their living prayers to make up the necessary amount to obtain graces. Prayers are living when they are flavoured with true love and sacrifice.
My dear daughter, it is a good thing, pleasing to God and meritorious, that you should suffer because of the sufferings of My Jesus and Mine, in addition to your own. Your sympathetic love is so dear to Me. But do you want to kiss Me? Kiss the wounds of My Son. Dress them with the balm of your love. I suffered spiritually the pangs of the scourges, of the thorns and the torture of the nails and of the cross. And likewise I feel spiritually all the caresses given to my Jesus, as they are as many kisses given to Me. And then come. I am the Queen of Heaven. But I am always the Mother...»
And I am happy.